I gave you back my claim on the mining town
and the rich vein we once worked,
from a sluice-box that irked
you so much, the narrow-gauge
that opened up to one and all
when it ran out at the landing-stage
beyond the Falls.
I gave you back oak ties
bully-flitches, the hand-hewn cross-beams
from which hung hard tack
in a burlap bag that, I'd surmise,
had burst its seams
the last night we lay by the old spur track.
You gave me back your frown
and the most recent responsibility you'd shirked
along with something of your renown
for having jumped from a cage just before it jerked
to a standstill, your wild rampage
shot through with silver falderals,
the speed of that falling cage
and the staidness of our canyon walls.
You gave me back lake-skies,
pulley-glitches, gully-pitches, the reflected gleams
of two tin plates and mugs in the shack,
the echoes of love-sighs
our canyon walls had already given back.
By Paul Muldoon